Experience the dazzling story of cinematography as seen through the lenses of the world's greatest filmmakers and captured in classic scenes from over 125 immortal movies. Discover Gordon Willis's secrets of lighting Marlo... more »n Brando in "The Godfather" and Greg Toland's contributions to "Citizen Kane." Hear William Fraker on filming "Rosemary's Baby," Vittorio Storaro on his use of color and light in "Apocalypse Now" and much, much more. From black and white to Technicolor, silent to "talkie," glittering Hollywood musical to film noir and art film to blockbuster, this critically acclaimed masterpiece presents movies in a new and unforgettable light!« less
"Working in the film business here in Los Angeles, it's easy to understand my appreciation for all aspects of film production. However, there are many people who don't unerstand the knowledge needed to get an image on film. Visions of Light is an incredible look into the world of cinematography, and the artists who have lit some of the most beautiful faces and film sets of the past 100 years. When I received this DVD, I wasn't expecting any "added footage", any "supplemental material." I was simply expecting a DVD that was enjoyable, entertaining, and somewhat educational to watch. In a nutshell, it delivered beyond my expectations. This DVD contains wonderful clips from some of the most popular and most beautifully photographed films of the past century. It includes interviews with an array of cinematographers giving behind the scenes stories of their careers and films that they have shot. Technically, don't expect this DVD to test your home system with incredible explosions and flawless picture quality. The clips are dated and the quality of sound and picture ranges from very good to incredibly dated. No one can expect a clip from 1930 to look THAT good, yet this DVD manages to present even the oldest clips in their greatest beauty. If you are a big fan of films, or you love the art of cinematography, or you simply have a curiousity on how films are made, then this DVD is a MUST HAVE. It is put together very well. It is incredibly entertaining, with wonderful film clips and interviews that will introduce you to the artists responsible for some of the greatest and most memorable films in history. Buy Visons of Light and it will surely be one of you favorite DVD's to watch. Enjoy!"
Study of lights and shadows is visually enlightening
Daniel J. Hamlow | Narita, Japan | 12/07/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
""Director of photography. The person in charge of lighting a set and photographing a film. Also known as 'first cameraman,' 'lighting cameraman,' or 'cinematographer,' he is responsible for transforming the screenwriter's and director's concepts into real visual images." From Ephraim Katz's Film Encyclopedia.This collection of film clips and interviews with various DPs (director of photography) and camera operators such as Allen Daviau, William A. Frakeman, Haskell Wexler, and Nestor Almendros reveals their influences, the period during which they worked, what techniques were evolving, and anecdotes. Clips from about two hundred or so films are examined.Yes, as Ernest Dickerson says, cinematography's the way one responds to light. Initially, there was just a director and cameraman, the director in charge of the actors, the cameraman in charge of everything else. And the stationary cameras didn't give them much to do, but of course that changed over time with the camera dollies and booms, and later, handheld cameras, made more effective by Steadicams, whose inventors won a special Oscar in 1977 in the technical field. But camera movement gave the DP greater ability to achieve his visual triumphs.Other than the Katz quote, DPs were to tell the story visually and to make actors and actresses more handsome and prettier but to enhance special features. Actresses like Marlene Dietrich and Greta Garbo required special attention, but boy, did they sparkle! Dietrich's cheeks were made narrower with the lighting used in Shanghai Express. And small wonder Harold Rosson made Jean Harlow prettier in Red Dust--he even married her (lucky guy!) after her husband Paul Bern committed suicide.This takes a chronological history of lighting, from the silent era up to the late 1980's, and puts it in context with the history of film. For example, the role of cinematography changed with the advent of sound. According to cinematographer John Bailey, the 1920's were the golden age of cinematography because at the time, the camera was unencumbered by sound and all devices accompanying verbal dialogue storytelling. And when anamorphic 2.35:1 widescreen came to be used, DPs had to find some way to use that extra space on either side, as they did with Lawrence Of Arabia, like the scene of Lawrence, having rescued Qaseem, who is greeted by one of the boys, riding towards him. And with the gradual independence from the studio system, previous errors such as flaring lenses were deliberately used as new techniques.My favourite era is the film noir era, which borrowed from the German Expressionism of the 1920's. Sparse lighting, slashes of light, dark shadows, dense rarified vocabulary of visual information, low angles define the characteristics of such films as The Killers, Out Of The Past, and Touch Of Evil. It's stark black and wide, hardly any greys.But other uses of dark or darkly lit techniques were shown with the candlelit sequence in Grapes of Wrath, a clip from Fat City, and the accurate capture of period dramas, where there was no electricity and so thus families relied on light from windows.As for best uses of technique, the pure visual accident in In Cold Blood, where Robert Blake's character is speaking to the chaplain about his father, and the light reflecting off the pouring rain on the window shone on Blake's face, making it look as if he were crying.This collaboration between the American Film Institute and Japan's NHK Television is ideally for film students/buffs and for moviegoers of a more intelligent and inquisitive calibre, which I hope will comprise of enough people."
Will ramp your appreciation of cinematography to new plane.
Leon Rodriguez | Austin, Texas | 09/27/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Will ramp your appreciation of cinematography to new plane. I felt priveledged to see through the eyes of the cinematographers whose interpretive visions become our filmic memories. You will understand at a new level the mix of man, machine and method that give us the larger than life illusions that carry the cinematic message to an eternal place we always carry with us. This is a must for any aspiring cinematographer and/or filmmaker. Cinematographer/Filmmaker"
Eyes Wide Open
Stuart Gibson | Surry Hills, NSW Australia | 07/25/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is a great documentary.
Across the course of the film, you may have your eyes opened as if for the first time: it comprises clips and interviews about the history of cinematography, or indeed the whole look and language of film.
While many of the clips show well-known moments in film, their compilation in this way offers one fresh and striking visual after another. The revelation is the strength of early and rarely-seen films, and the assertion that had sound films been invented a decade later, the visual language of film would have developed and intensified still further. As it is, the images are just ravishing, and it's really rather moving to watch.
This is a warm and thought-provoking look at cinematography, and is highly recommended. The only reservation is the mono sound on the DVD, but it's a small sacrifice when the visuals hold pride of place.
Be prepared -- you'll want to revisit many classics after this!"
Great for film students and lovers of film.
erima | Bogotá. D.C., Colombia, South America | 06/09/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I bouhgt the laser disc version in 1994, and I have seen it since then, almost 30 times. I have just ordered the DVD version as soon as I knew that existed. I don't know which features does have the DVD version, but in laser disc was extraordinary, I learned a lot from the best cinematographers, e.g. Almendros say that a cinematographer should never use a fog filter. I really recomend strongly this DVD not only for film students, but also for every person who own a DVD, you'll never see this on TV.Elías RimaThursday, 08jun2000"